Monday, January 19, 2009

Cambodia Trip '08 – Day 03: Silver Pagoda, Phnom Penh

After a short rest at our hotel, we left in our minivan heading towards the Royal Palace grounds which was located a short distance from our hotel. On the way, we noticed quite a few people in national dress and somewhat formal looking shirts walking down the street where we were heading. It was then that we were told that the people were coming back for the Cambodian Independence Day gathering further down the road which we missed earlier that morning. If I had a chance, I would have loved to participate in the festivities that morning just to see how they celebrate their Independence Day in Cambodia.

(Cambodian National Assembly Building, Phnom Penh)

Our minivan soon delivered us near the entrance of the Royal Palace facing Street 240. From the place where we parked, we could see the National Assembly building which served a similar function as our own Parlimen building. We crossed the street to enter the Royal Palace entrance and paid our entrance fee there. Guides were available for hire at the entrance but we decided to skip this as we already had a local person with us in the group. We walked through the building at the outside of the Silver Pagoda walls where they currently store items that was used during the recent installation of the new King of Cambodia. Among the items that we saw were equipment used on the elephants during the Royal Elephant Procession as well as other items that was carried by attendants during the ceremony.

(Musicians playing traditional Khemer musical instruments in one of the pavilions)

(Wall relief depicting Hanuman's army and guardian statues on the grounds)

After a walk around the walls of the Silver Pagoda, we finally came to the huge double layer doors that opened into the grounds of the pagoda. We walked through and among the towering stupas that contained the ashes and remains of some of the Cambodian royalty. The grounds of the Silver Pagoda were surrounded by a wall on which was painted with murals that depicted the events from Reamker which was the Khmer version of the classic Indian epic, the Ramayana. Some sections of the mural looked faded considering that they were exposed to the elements but I was fairly certain that they would be professionally restored.

(L: Outer door, R: Inner door details of the double gate into the Silver Pagoda grounds)

(Reamker murals, Silver Pagoda, Phnom Penh)

Another interesting feature on the grounds was also the statue of HM King Norodom who ruled Cambodia between 1834-1904. Perched on his horse, the statue was definitely a distinguishing feature of the grounds which stood out among the more traditional looking architecture of the area. Right next to the statue was the Silver Pagoda which the area was named after. Visitor must remove their footwear before entering the pagoda which housed Buddhist artifacts including the famous Emerald Buddha. Since the pagoda is still a functioning house of worship, pictures are not also allowed to be taken inside the building.

(Library that housed sacred Buddhist texts)

(L: Stupa of HM King Suramarit and HM Queen Kossomak, R: Statue of HM King Norodom)

(Silver Pagoda entrance)

(L: Stupa of HM King Norodom & Royal Palace beyond it, R: Stupa of HM King Ang Doung & Keong Preah Bath shrine)

(The Cambodian Royal Palace beyond the wall enclosure surrouding the Silver Pagoda grounds)

(Pillars around the Silver Pagoda)

(L: Close up details of pillar decorations at Silver Pagoda, R: Roof details of the Silver Pagoda)

(Stupa of Princess Kantha Bopha, Silver Pagoda)

After spending sometime looking at the artifacts within the Silver Pagoda, we left the building to head to the back area where a scale model of the Angkor Wat was located. After resting for a bit there we proceeded to the pagoda grounds exit as we were told that the Royal Palace grounds were closed for visitors on that afternoon. While I was slightly disappointed not being able to walk around the palace ground, it was still an afternoon well spent walking though the grounds of the Silver Pagoda.

(Scale model of Angkor Wat, Silver Pagoda, Phnom Penh)

(Additional info and names for the structures were obtained from

1 comment:

Seat Vacations said...

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